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Hardy M1?
Old 16th June 2006
  #1
More cowbell!
 
natpub's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Hardy M1?

Ive read and tried preamps for so long it hurts. One thing I cant really try on demand is the Hardy M1 (built to order). I have heard GML in studios, easily--they are all over--and they are lovely, but slightly sharp for my uses (Fleetwood Mac/Eagles/CSNY kinda vibe). I have heard raves on Gordon, but they are also build to order, and fairly new, so I have never even seen one.

I tried to buy the new API A2D, but wait time exceeds my schedule. I have a strict budget atm ($2k tops), and want 2 channels of one type for tracking.

I got an offer for an M1 type of unit that is actually 4 channels (clonned by a reputable tech via a very rep dealer). Question is, is the M1 sweet? Does it have gain to handle ribbons like the R84, and is it versitile for an entire disc of mainly acoustic gig?

If I could get an M1 on trial, I would.



thx
Old 16th June 2006
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
I use a hardy M1 on alot of stuff , except its a little to clean and fast for some rock guitars and some vocals but a classy pre non the less .
Old 16th June 2006 | Show parent
  #3
Lives for gear
 
toolstudio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I use 8 channels of John Hardy M1, they are clean but with just a bit of color.
They work great with ribbons, I use 'em with AEA 44s, AEA 84s, AEA R88, Royers and Coles with great success.

I would see no problem with tracking a whole album with acoustic music through them.

Rock music and guitars are a bit different... I would use the M1s on acoustic git, vocals, overheads and percussions....

For dirty rock electric guitars I use something more colorful like Neves, APIs or Chandler TG2.
Not that you can't get it done with the M1 also......


wolfgang
Old 16th June 2006
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by natpub
Question is, is the M1 sweet? Does it have gain to handle ribbons like the R84, and is it versitile for an entire disc of mainly acoustic gig?
very sweet.

particularly good for both applications. you can get 4 channels of the real deal w/o output transformers and with a pk meter for 2000 and some change. highly recommended.

Mike
Old 16th June 2006 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
I had John make 2 of my channels w/ 70 db gain for my ribbons. Works great.
Old 16th June 2006 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
PlugHead's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I also love my M1's - in regards to 'enough gain' - 60 dB is lots for loud, to moderate levels going in, but for softer sources and/or more "delicate" playing of quieter sources, it's not enough, unless you want to make up the shortfall in the box...

IME (with a LOT of ribbon mics) having 70/80 dB gain is best. With normal p48/tube mics, it's not an issue. With low output ribbons, and quiet sources (finger-picked acoustic guitar, melodian, dulcimer, etc, etc) having more (quiet) gain is better than not having enough! I've recorded with R-121's/SF-1's/4038's/R-88's/M160's etc etc thru my Hardy, and I base this opinion on experience.

If you're recording loud stuff, than have at it!

My .02 c
Old 16th June 2006 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
MIKEHARRIS's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
are you assuming the cloned M-1 to be IDENTICAL ?? highly doubtful...why not just buy the real deal from the man himself...built the way you want ?? this is within your budget and can be expanded with additional channels should you need more.
These comments of praise are not for clones !!!!!!!!!!!
btw...the M-1/LA-2 combo is easily responsible for the vocals on over 50 gold/platinum albums to come out of CrescentMoon Studios

http://www.crescentmoon.com/

http://www.harrisaudiosystems.com/St...scentMoon.html
Old 16th June 2006 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
T.RayBullard's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
DAV BG-2 --66db of gain, plenty. do a search on it, it is very sweet, and euphonic, but loads of detail as well..
Old 16th June 2006 | Show parent
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Acoustic Cloud's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I have a 2 ch M-1 John built for me. He sent me the 2nd channel, and I installed it myself!! WOO HOO!! (Was pretty scared though, with a frisbee full of screws, and all these pieces on the table)

Its very nice for acoustic guitar, in fact, it officially slammed my preamp gas
dead in its tracks....hehe no pun intended.

You wont be dissapointed. I have used it with a ribbon on a vocalist once, it was fine... pretty maxed out, but they are dead silent also. I use it all the time on acoustics with no compression, sounds beautiful!!

Hes right though, acoustic guitar AND a ribbon, you would need some comp in, it wouldnt be loud enough.

I have bugged John a few times to design a comp card to fit in the M-1.. I would love to have pre- comp-pre-comp in his 4 space frame!!

That would rule!!!
Old 16th June 2006 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acoustic Cloud

I have bugged John a few times to design a comp card to fit in the M-1.. I would love to have pre- comp-pre-comp in his 4 space frame!!

That would rule!!!

That would be amazing , keep bugging him
Old 16th June 2006 | Show parent
  #11
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
"Too clean" can easily be fixed by simply dropping a transformer or a tube stage into the output line. On the other hand, you're always going to be stuck with "not clean enough."

M-1s do a great job. I'm pretty sure that the gain change is just a matter of swapping out a resistor or two.
Old 16th June 2006 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
I love and use the M1's on a regular basis for all things acoustic. The only minor problem is the lack of a pad for drums. I love sending a snare bttm, OH's and room mics to the Hardy's, but with the occasional loud drummer it is really tough to not peak out. I haven't used it on snare top because of this little issue, but I imagine it would sound pretty great. It is not my favorite for rock electrics, but I am sure I could make it work if I "had" to.

Chris
Old 16th June 2006 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Acoustic Cloud's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I spoke to him on the phone a few times, he seems to do stuff pretty oldschool. He has a guy or 2 that work for him, but he still does a ton of it himself.

Even though aint no bells or whistles on the M-1, I think its expandability plus the sound, make it amazing for the dough-age....
Old 17th June 2006 | Show parent
  #14
11413
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by crogersmod
The only minor problem is the lack of a pad for drums. I love sending a snare bttm, OH's and room mics to the Hardy's, but with the occasional loud drummer it is really tough to not peak out. I haven't used it on snare top because of this little issue, but I imagine it would sound pretty great.


tried these?
Old 17th June 2006 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
dtucker's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Mike Harris knows what he's talking about. Listen to him.

He hears from the best ears in the biz, and also has solid ears himeself.

Do not discount his advice!!
Old 17th June 2006 | Show parent
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Natpub;

As mentioned, the M-1 can be modified (at no charge) for more than the usual 60 dB of maximum gain. I have modified several of them for 66 dB max, and others for 70 dB max. There is a single resistor that determines the maximum gain, so it is easy to modify. You can see the schematic for the M-1 (and M-2) in the data package at:

http://www.johnhardyco.com/pdf/M1_M2_M1p_20031025.pdf

The resistor is R7, shown as 20 ohms (actually, it has been 19.1 ohms for many years. Some day I will update the schematic). When I first began modifying preamps for a higher maximum gain, I simply added another 19.1 ohm resistor on the bottom side of the board in parallel with the original R7, resulting in a net value that is one-half of 19.1 ohms. This added 6 dB to the maximum gain. In other cases, I added two of the 19.1 ohm resistors to the bottom of the board, cutting the net value to one-third the original value, adding about 10dB to the maximum gain.

I took this approach for a few reasons:

1. I already had tons of the 19.1 ohm resistors, so I would not have to order special values to achieve special gains.

2. I would not have to remove the original R7 resistor, which would require removing the 990C op-amp from its socket to accomplish, then desoldering the resistor, etc..

3. There is plenty of room on the underside of the p.c. board.

4. If anyone decided that they did not need the extra gain, it would be very simple to remove the resistors that are tacked on to the bottom of the board.

So, it's a lazy approach that makes sense.

There is always concern about how much gain you can get from a single-stage mic preamp before distortion begins to rise. This is why the Jensen Twin Servo was created. The two-stage approach uses two 990C op-amps in series, each op-amp providing half as much gain as the one 990C of the single-stage M-1. But those customers with modified M-1 preamps seem to be very happy with the results. The 990C is a very high performance op-amp.

When you start using gains of 70 dB or higher, there is always the potential problem of running into the noise floor of the preamp. The M-1 has a noise spec of -129 dBu with the input connector terminated at 150 ohms, in a 20-20 kHz bandwidth, unweighted (0 dBu = 0.775V). If your mic signal enters the preamp at -70 dBu, requiring 70 dB of gain to get the signal to an output level of 0 dBu, the noise floor of the M-1 is 59 dB below the mic signal. If your mic signal is at -80 dBu requiring 80 dB of gain to get to 0 dBu, the noise floor is 49 dB below the signal. Apparently, the resulting sound quality of the ribbon mics (or whatever the situation) outweighs the issues of noise for some folks. The combination of the Jensen JT-16-B input transformer (the best mic input model that Jensen makes) and the 990C discrete op-amp is pretty much as quiet as a preamp can get.

My dealers usually take very good care of their customers. Mike Harris is a great example. If you have any questions, or issues with a dealer, you can always contact me directly. Thank you.

John Hardy
The John Hardy Co.
www.johnhardyco.com
Old 17th June 2006
  #17
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Hey natpub,

I'm doing a location recording in Cleveland from july 5-8. Not close but not outrageously far from Columbus. If you want to stop by and check out my Hardy pre, you're welcome to.

Henry
Old 17th June 2006 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Acoustic Cloud's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
WHOA!!

The Man himself!!

Sooooo, ....... what about that comp/lim card sometime Mr. Hardy?!?!

Thank you for taking the time to explain things!

Very cool!!
Old 18th June 2006 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
M-1

I actually got the M-1 about three months ago. Last night when recording vocals, there was a bit of distortion on the loud sections. I do have the input and output transformer option--is this the cause? I was using the SM7 so I'm assuming the mic itself wasn't distorting...
Is there any way to avoid this or is this just inherent in designs with the output transformer?
Old 18th June 2006 | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Acoustic Cloud's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Did you get the meter option on the pre?
Old 18th June 2006 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Yes I did. For a while I wasn't too sure if I should have...
Old 18th June 2006 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
Acoustic Cloud's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Well, was the pre clipping?
Old 18th June 2006 | Show parent
  #23
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
no. the preamp was not clipping.
Old 18th June 2006 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Regarding distortion, the meters tell the tale. In theory at least, if the "PK" (peak) LED is not lighting up, there will not be any distortion caused by the preamp.

The meters monitor the output level of the channel. The main bargraph is normally calibrated so that the "0 VU" point represents an output level of +4 dBu. The PK LED is normally calibrated to illuminate when the output level reaches +22 dBu. The preamp is specified as having a maximum output level of +24 dBu, but the maximum output level is actually almost +26 dBu. So even when the PK LED begins to illuminate occasionally, there is almost 4 dB of room beyond that point before distortion occurs.

So, if the PK LED is not illuminating and there is distortion, there are a few possibilities:

1. The mic itself is distorting at high sound pressure levels.
2. The next piece of equipment after the M-1 cannot handle the high output levels of the M-1 without distorting.
3. The PK LED is broken.
4. Something is wrong with the M-1.

The transformers should not be causing distortion (other than the typical comments about how things perhaps sound "smoother", or whatever, with the optional output transformer. YMMV). The JT-16-B input transformer can handle input levels of typically +9.7 dBu at 20 Hz, with an increase of 6 dB for each octave above that. So, unless your vocalist was singing a basso-profundo part, there should not be any significant distortion caused by the input transformer. You can check the specs for this transformer at the Jensen site:

http://www.jensentransformers.com/datashts/16b.pdf

Basic math: INPUT LEVEL + GAIN = OUTPUT LEVEL. The minimum gain of the M-1 is about 12dB, so any input levels that exceed +12 dBu will result in output levels that exceed +24 dBu, the maximum specified output level of the M-1. The PK LED fires at +22 dBu, so it lets you know when things are approaching the critical point.

The JT-11-BMQ output transformer (essentially the same as the JT-11-BMCF) can handle output levels of +27 dBu at 20 Hz, with even higher levels at higher frequencies. Since the M-1 absolutely clips at about +25.8 dBu, the output transformer is not the issue either. You can check the specs of the JT-11-BMCF here:

http://www.jensentransformers.com/datashts/11bmcf.pdf

Please check the possibilities and report back. What was the next piece of equipment after the M-1? Assume nothing. If there is something wrong with the M-1, send it to me and I will fix it. Thanks.

John Hardy
The John Hardy Co.
www.johnhardyco.com
Old 18th June 2006 | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Acoustic Cloud's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The i/o transformers dont have a "clipping" problem, any more than another pre with/ without the same internals.

If you werent watching the preamp while the distortion happened in real time, you cant really tell... The pre doesnt hold a memory max/peak...maybe you were watching it, and it didnt clip, I dont know.

Was the input in your host too high/clipped?

Was there something else inline that may have maxed?

Did you try the same recording idea a few times, while watching things closely, to create a mock "re-creation"?

Its hard to tell what the problem was, but I am pretty sure its not the Hardy..
Old 18th June 2006 | Show parent
  #26
Lives for gear
 
Acoustic Cloud's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
ooops~!

John posted his while I was typing, like Helen Keller with her elbows....

Sorry!
Old 18th June 2006 | Show parent
  #27
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Has anyone ever heard of the SM7 distorting on a vocalist? The preamp did not clip--as I was watching very closely, and it happened three times. It didn't sound like the converters clipping--not as nasty and the meters in protools never clilpped.
Old 18th June 2006 | Show parent
  #28
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
wow. you guys are fast.
very fast responses.
Old 18th June 2006 | Show parent
  #29
Deleted c40a31f
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcool
Has anyone ever heard of the SM7 distorting on a vocalist? The preamp did not clip--as I was watching very closely, and it happened three times. It didn't sound like the converters clipping--not as nasty and the meters in protools never clilpped.
Hi jcool,

Did you try a different microphone with the M-1? And did you try a different preamp with the SM7? Did you try different cables? With the SM7, M-1 and same cables did you try running the M-1 output into a headphone amp instead of your converters?

A methodical process of elimination will help you pinpoint where the problem is.

And I love my Hardy M-1s by the way!!!!! Some lucky bastard will get them when I'm dead . . . .maybe!
Old 19th June 2006 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
never had my sm7 clip thru the hardy .
If your screaming maybe use compression and back off the level
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